How to Use Video to Drive Conversion
We live in a visual world. Unsurprisingly, visual-based marketing has been a hot topic for a number of years, but its success goes back much further. Humans are tuned for visual stimulation – our brains process images and videos 60,000 times faster than text – and this quirk is why marketers have been pushing for image-based content for so long.
eCommerce continues to grow at a breakneck pace, and smart merchants have been leveraging video content to get a leg up. Video and motion graphics better engage users, boost SEO, and greatly increase conversion. Year after year, the number of consumers that spend time with online videos continues to increase. In fact, data released by Google in 2016 shows that nearly 50% of consumers look for product videos before they buy. Along with the fact that a 2016 Forbes study showed 82% of consumers research products online before making a purchase commitment, it’s easy to see why more marketers are turning to video.
Video content requires a bit of strategy and restraint to be effective, though. Here are some key considerations to make your video content – and digital experience – better than ever.
Format: Video vs. GIF
The most important component of video content is its format. Videos and animated GIFs are the two most dominant options on the web today, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a nearly universal file format that has been around almost as long as the internet. The files are easy and inexpensive to create and are best suited for short, simple animations, such as quick, single-step demonstrations. For example, rotating messages or image swapping between the front and back view of a product are great GIF candidates.
However, with no audio capability, GIFs aren’t the most immersive format for video content. There is no way for a user to play or pause, meaning a typical GIF needs to loop a few times for a user to engage with the entire video. Looping can also make the animation distracting or annoying if not produced correctly.
- Good for short, focused messages
- Easy to create
- Ubiquitous file format
- Small file size
- Simple and inexpensive to implement
- No need for hosting or special integrations
- No audio
- No playback controls
- Easily missed if it only plays once
- Can become annoying if constantly looping
From powerful, iconic brand statements to informational product demos, videos offer a full range of creative opportunities. Videos couple visual and audio design to create emotional resonance, inspire sharing, and strengthen brand perception. A well-produced video stands alone as a reusable piece of content that can stretch across websites, social media platforms, and more.
At the same time, poorly produced videos can actually have a negative brand impact, driving away users and hurting conversion. Producing a high-quality video is complicated and costly, usually requiring specialized resources or outside vendors. Videos also come with some tricky technical considerations. How will the video impacts load times? Where will it be hosted? How should we integrate it into the site?
Thankfully, platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo can solve most of these technical concerns.
- Drives engagement
- Strengthens brand perception
- Endless creative possibilities
- Reusable content across multiple mediums
- Sharing across Social Media platforms
- Requires more effort, cost, and resources to produce
- Hosting considerations
- Larger file size
- Can easily damage digital experience with slow load times or unwanted autoplay
- Hurts conversion if not produced properly
Regardless of format, marketers need to consider how videos will fit into page layouts. For landing pages or simple homepages with limited content, placing a video in the background can effectively complement messaging and improve engagement.
On a typical commerce page, however, things are a bit more complex. With multiple types of content, promotions, and calls to action, videos become just another item competing for a user’s attention. Without proper discretion, video can distract users, work against business goals, and quickly impact performance.
Things to Consider:
- Selectively use videos to draw a user’s eye down a page
- If you have text overlaying video, strong light/dark contrast is key to maintaining readability
- Keep it simple! Never place two different animations next to each other
- Give the user’s eyes a chance to rest. Strive to keep a balance between static and moving content
- Don’t let videos distract from buttons, links, or important calls to action
- If the video is informational or key to the buying process, it should have clear controls for play/pause
A good rule of thumb: “less is more.” Visitors should never feel overwhelmed by content. When they do, they close their browser tab. Furthermore, this creates negative brand impressions and keeps customers from converting.
Countless studies and statistics illustrate the undeniable benefits of utilizing video and motion to improve conversion and brand engagement. Clearly, factors such as message length and type will greatly influence format and placement. Videos are incredible tools – the human brain greatly prefers them to text – but need to be used wisely.